From the Advertiser archives - May 9, 2019 edition

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In the news 100, 50 and 25 years ago

May 9, 1919

Annie Shepherd was summoned by Lucy Keen for assaulting her. She pleaded guilty. It was stated that Mrs Shepherd visited Mrs keen’s house and said: “Have you been making inquiries of my husband about me?” and without further ado struck her on the left leg causing a bruise. This was not the first time they had had words owing to the alleged infidelity of Mrs Keen’s husband, who, it was said, had slept at Shepherd’s house. Shepherd was bound over to keep the peace and the Bench fixed the bond at £5.

May 9, 1969

A two-year fight to save the last remaining local stretch of the Great Central Line came to a sad conclusion on Saturday when 450 enthusiasts and passengers made a nostalgic final journey aboard the 18.55 from Rugby Central to Nottingham Arkwright Street station, watched by hundreds of spectators. The last train marked the end of another long and colourful era in Rugby’s history. For this line has played an important role in the town’s development and did much to make Rugby a key railway centre.

May 5, 1994

The re-opening of the old Great Central railway line will disrupt the education of up to 250 children studying at St Andrew’s Middle School. Governors, staff and pupils oppose the reopening of the Great Central line that passes 20 yards from classrooms and three yards from their Chester Street playground. Developers of the freight route, which would link the Midlands to the Channel Tunnel, will be handing their detailed scheme to the Transport Minister this summer.

Fight to save Great Central Line in 1969

It amused me to find two Great Central railway line stories for our archives 25 years apart!

In 1969 nobody wanted it to close and in 1994 there was strong opposition to it reopening!

I thought it might be interesting to include a little more about the closure of the line from our original story 50 years ago:

“It was opened in the 1890s by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Company which changed its name to Great Central in 1897 in direct competition to the well-established Midland Company.

It provided expresses to and from Sheffield, services to Bradford, York, Hill, Newcastle, Bristol, Cardiff, Southampton and an alternative link with London.

The axe first fell in 1966 when the southern link with Londonwas abandoned.

Now the entire line has gone, and with it go six stations, Rugby Central, Lutterworth, Ashby Magna, Leicester Central, Loughborough Central and Leake.

A new Midland Red bus service takes over this week at an increased fare.

Among the many campaigners who have attempted to save the line are Rugby Borough Council and the Great Central Association, a group of rail enthusiasts. This week’s closure almost certainly means the end of this Association, which has been fighting British Rail since 1960.

Assistant secretary Mr DV Cheney of Catesby Road believes the line still has great potential and the only reason the Minister agreed to its closure was because of the inconvenient way in which services have been run during the past few years. However local enthusiasts have not yet given up completely.

The Central Association is this week investigating the possibility of an appeal to the Ombudsman.

And the Rugby organiser of the Main Line Preservation Group, Mr Graham Oliver, is setting out on an ambitious £500,000 quest to buy the line and re-open it as a self-paying steam engine service. Mr Oliver of Bridge Street has been working furiously to produce hundreds of leaflets to distribute around the district calling for local support.

The Group’s initial aim is to prevent British Rail from removing the track and to prevent the embankments from being disturbed.

It is feared among enthusiasts that if the M6 runs across the path of the closed line this will prevent any future chance of the track being re-opened.”